Sun, Sep 28, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Lions saw season slip in fateful Elephants series

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Life would have been a lot more pleasant for the President Lions if it weren't for the decisive four-game series during the first week of September that turned out to be the turning point of the season for both teams.

Riding their 13-game unbeaten streak into the month of September, the once high-flying Lions began the four-game series against the league-leading Elephants on Sept. 2, trailing the Brother Elephants by only 1/2 game. The Elephants on the other hand, had lost two straight against a red-hot Whales squad to see their lead over the Lions dwindle down to less than a game.

To spice it up even more, the Lions were one out away from winning Game 1 and taking over the top spot in the league standings when Elephants slugger Peng Cheng-ming (彭政閔) knocked home the game-tying run and preserved the slim lead for the Elephants.

The Lions had to settle for a tie and the season began to slip away from them. The Elephants won the series 3-1-0 to open a 3-1/2 game lead over the Lions.

Two more heart-breaking losses in the ensuing series against the Chinatrust Whales sent the Lions 4-1/2 games behind the leader.

"Baseball is a funny game; everything is about momentum," Jonathan Hurst, a starting pitcher for the Elephants said in a recent interview. "The series against the Lions gave us the momentum and really put us in the zone. That's just the way it goes."

The Elephants have lost only once since that fateful series against the Lions. The Lions' recent five-game winning streak merely keeps them from falling further behind the defending champs.

"We should have won the first two games because we clearly outplayed the Elephants in both games," Lions pitcher John Frascatore said.

Frascatore lost Game 2 of the series 7-8 after enduring five unearned Elephants runs.

The 6-5 series finale in favor of the Elephants on Sept. 6 could have easily been another Lions victory, because they out hit the Elephants.

Those three wins would have put the Lions up by 1-1/2 games at the time.

The Elephants had a 4-1-10 start that had many wondering if the team would even be competitive. But in the end, the Elephants found a way to win.

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